A million dollars isn’t what it used to be, at least according to a survey that suggests volatile markets and decades-high inflation have even the well-off feeling unwell.

Key Takeaways

  • 35% of millionaires surveyed by Natixis Investment Managers said it would take a miracle to achieve a secure retirement.
  • Their main concerns are public debt, high inflation, and low interest rates.

While the U.S. is home to 24.5 million millionaires, more than any other nation, 35% of them said only a miracle will allow them a secure retirement, according to the Natixis Investment Managers survey of 1,617 wealthy people. More than half—58%—have come to terms with the fact that they’ll have to work far longer than they’d planned.

A common rule of thumb for retirees is that they should withdraw 4% of their retirement fund each year, a guideline that may not be enough for most millionaires.

“A million may seem like a lot, but many people are surprised when they do the math and realize that 4% of $1 million is only $40,000 yearly,” David Goodsell, executive director of the Natixis Center for Investor Insight, told CNBC. “This is usually quite a bit less than these individuals are likely used to living on.”

At the heart of the concern is accelerating consumer prices, which decreases buying power and erodes the value of fixed-income securities such as bonds. Some 55% of working Americans say they’re falling behind on retirement savings because of inflation, and seven of 10 millionaires also perceive it as a threat.

That’s not all: Three-quarters of those surveyed were worried that high public debt will weigh on public benefits in the future. While not everyone needs public assistance in retirement, 38% said they won’t be able to retire without it.

Sliding financial markets are another worry. Almost half of those surveyed—42%—said they’re so stressed out by markets these days that they avoid thinking about retirement altogether.

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